Sandra Bland is a name known internationally. However from time to time, I am asked “Who is that person on your button” as I wear my Sandra Bland button almost daily. It gives me a chance to tell her story of what happened that hot day in Waller County, July 10, 2015.
Sandra had just gotten a job at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M, recently relocating from Illinois. On July 10th, DPS Trooper Brian Encinia pulled Sandra over for simply not utilizing her lane change signal.
Brian Encinia stands about 5’6″ or so. Looking at him without a uniform, you automatically can determine he has a Napoleon complex. His attitude and behavior definitely exuded that on July 10th. Sandra, knowing her rights as a citizen, expressed her knowledge to Encinia. Instead of Encinia kindly respecting her 1st and 4th Amendment, giving her a ticket and going about his way, instead his behavior became erratic and began making threats towards Sandra, saying “I will light you up” when demanding she get out of the car after she refused to put out her cigarette.
Smoking a cigarette in your own vehicle, your personal property which is protected by the 4th Amendment, is allowed. A cops ego doesn’t trump civilian rights. The problem is that so many in America have been “conditioned” to follow orders no matter what is being done by that officer. Assuming that police officers never break the law, bend rules, or flex their power on citizens, as the public would think, Sandra was not breaking any laws.
Encinia forced Sandra out of the car as she follows him out of dash cam view (how convenient) and is heard saying that she looks forward to dealing with him in court over this matter. Moments later you hear Sandra yelling that he’s hurting her, he’s gonna break her wrist, he’s slamming her head on the ground. Sandra was found dead 3-days later in Waller County jail.
Sandra’s family and supporters do not believe the official story that Sandra killed herself in the jail cell. Since that time, Sandra’s mother, Ms. Geneva, has filed a civil suit against all involved in the murder of Sandra Bland. In January 2016 a Grand Jury in Waller County indicted Brian Encinia of “perjury” which is a misdemeanor charge, a slap on the wrist. His case is still pending as the Judge in the case continues to push Encinia’s case to later dates, recently pushed from June to October. In the civil case heard at the Harris County Federal Courthouse, that case is set in January 2017. The family and supporters continue to fight forward for Sandra Bland. In April 2016, the main road leading from Highway 290 to Prairie View A&M was changed from University Drive to Sandra Bland Parkway after months of constant pressure on the City of Prairie View and PV City Council. PV Council passed the measure and on April 16, 2016 street signs were changed to Sandra Bland Parkway.
On Sunday, July 10, 2016, we will be meeting at Prairie View, at the spot where Sandra was taken into custody at 4:30 p.m. (719 Sandra Bland Parkway, Prairie View, TX)
Wear BLACK for power and PURPLE for pride. If you want to get more involved in supporting Sandra Bland’s family, please feel free to contact myself or utilize the email on the action flyer. We look forward to seeing you there!